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I see your point about the lack of controls in the "reparative therapy" here, but I think the reporter is making a very good point. With no controls, we have no basis for making the inference that the treatment caused change. The problem though, is with only retrospective reports from self-interested parties, we have a very, very limited basis for inferring that there was change. Unfortunately, the single-group-posttest-only is about the most common design with "applied" interventions, including job training. For what its worth.

For my money, not being able to be sure that there is an effect to attribute to some cause trumps being able to pin the effect to a particular mechanism, in any particular case.

Scott Hagin

Thank you for another poignant example of why method matters ... my statistics students get sick of me harping on correct method (even though controls are difficult to apply in complex situations, such a basic idea) but if (when?) my students get that part time lab job carrying out or processing results from someone else's experiment, I want them to RUN from meaningless data! Note that it is Benjamin Franklin who was credited with first using control methodology (http://www.stephanaschwartz.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/BF-Scientific-Testing.pdf)


Now and then a patient will come to me wondering if an odd spot on their face or neck is cancerous. Nine times out of ten it's just an age spot or a big freckle that has formed from being out in the sun too much without protection.

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